ICL Fined £50,000 Regarding 150-Tonne Chemical Spill

Industrial Estate And Roads Closed After Major Incident Last Year

08.08.2014

Essex company Industrial Chemicals Limited (ICL) has been fined more than £50,000 and ordered to pay costs following an incident in which a chemical storage tank failed and spilled 150 tonnes of hazardous material.

An industrial estate was evacuated and roads closed following the incident in July 11th last year when a glass reinforced plastic tank at Titan Works on Hogg Lane catastrophically failed, releasing around 66 tonnes of aluminium chloride.

Basildon Crown Court heard that this led to further spills from three other tanks which released 32 further tonnes of aluminium chloride and 52 tonnes of hydrochloric acid.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that ICL was unable to demonstrate tanks were being operated within their design lives, were suitability inspected or effectively maintained for continued use.

While this led to five prohibition notices, a further inspection of metallic storage vessels led to ten prohibition notices.

HSE inspector Andrew Saunders said the case demonstrated how there was “no excuse” for companies storing hazardous materials not to follow the body’s guidance on the issue.

Expert Opinion
While it is very fortunate that no one was injured or killed as a result of this incident, it still raises very clear concerns regarding the safe storage of potential hazardous materials.

"Sadly, our work representing victims of serious workplace injury and illness means we have seen numerous cases when employees have suffered serious harm as a result of contact and exposure with such substances.

"The importance of the safe storage and handling of those materials should not be underestimated and it is vital that employers involved in this work pay close attention to cases of this nature. Health and safety must always be the priority and lessons must be learned from this."
Mark Allen, Associate Director